Live Review: Wiz Khalifa

Where: Bank of America Pavilion – Boston, MA

When: July 30, 2011

Flashback to the summer of 2010, when Khalifa played Boston’s Urban Music Festival alongside acts like Ryan Leslie, M-Dot, and Bad Rabbits. He had so much of a cult following that thousands of his most loyal fans literally broke down barricades as soon as he took the stage. I wasn’t that familiar with him, but after having that kind of introduction to him, I became wise real quick. After his first crack at mainstream success didn’t take off quite the way he hoped, Khalifa  had to start from scratch again using his favorite reinvention vehicle—the mixtape. After all the buzz Burn After Rolling and Kush and Orange Juice generated, it wasn’t long before major labels came knocking (again) and it was Atlantic Records who scored the very talented artist. His official debut album, Rolling Papers, was a commercial success—especially with singles like “Roll Up,” “On My Level,” and “Black and Yellow” dominating radio airwaves. This of course led to endless endorsements, magazine spreads, and of course, sold out tour dates.

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The Bank of America Pavilion is the perfect summer venue, and the fact that Khalifa sold every seat in it is pretty impressive, but not as impressive as the smell of weed that invaded my nasal cavity upon my entering the concert. I missed openers Big Sean and Chevy Woods, but it was clear that fans had partying from the very beginning. They boozed and got a little high while simultaneously dancing on their seats as hip hop tunes blared from the speakers as filler until the lights dimmed and Khalifa came out spewing bars.  Throughout his performance, it was evident that the Taylor Gang Commander-In-Chief was simply having a grand ol’ time, as he pranced around with his mic stand (a la Steven Tyler), made some obscene tongue gestures, and asked which section of the audience smoked the best weed. His backdrop consisted of money and cars (naturally) and toward the end of his set (a set consisting of songs like “Roll Up,” “In The Cut,” “The Thrill,” “Never Been,” “No Sleep,” “On My Level,” “Cabin Fever” and of course, “Black and Yellow”), he led the audience in a ‘Taylor Gang Or Die’ chant. By this point in the evening, I thought I would be sick and tired of all of the allusions to weed, girls, and yes, Taylor Gang, but those feelings never surfaced. The beauty of Wiz Khalifa is that his excitement and joy stemming from his hard work pours into his records and into the ears of his listeners. For those unfamiliar with all the songs he did, their boisterous beats oozing from them were enough for everyone to drop it low. And at a rap show, what more could you ask for?

Photo by Matt Lantic

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